Waynedale Political Commentaries

The History Of Memorial Day ~ Voice Of The Township

The Wayne Township Trustee Office will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024, in honor of Memorial Day, and many of us look forward to the Waynedale Memorial Day Parade that departs from the Waynedale United Methodist Church at 9:00 that morning to travel its traditional route along Old Trail Road to the Prairie Grove Cemetery. It is always an honor to come together with Waynedale citizens to celebrate the unofficial start of the summer season on this most patriotic holiday.

Memorial Day originated in the United States just after the Civil War when residents of both the North and the South created their own traditions of honoring the fallen soldiers of the war. Most of those traditions involved placing flags and flowers and other memorabilia on the graves of soldiers, and from that it became known as “Decoration Day,” a name still heard today from a select few. The name Memorial Day did not come into general use until after World War II, as it honored the memory of the men and women who died while serving in all the American military conflicts, not just the Civil War.

Each year on Memorial Day people visit cemeteries and monuments particularly to honor those who have died in military service, but for some the day became an occasion for remembering other deceased friends and relatives as well, and since the holiday is part of a three-day weekend these visits are often an opportunity to come together for traditional friend and family reunions. I particularly remember the story relayed to us from Trustee Richard Stevenson of the tradition in his family of gathering on Memorial Day and touring the Lindenwood Cemetery in the family’s horse-drawn wagon. At each grave of a departed loved one the group would stop and reminisce, sharing stories that kept those loved ones alive in the memories and imaginations of the family members.

Now observed on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is considered the unofficial start of the summer season in the United States with Labor Day, on the first Monday of September, marking the unofficial start of autumn. Veterans Day, in November, honoring not just those who died in active service but all veterans living and deceased, brings to a close the yearly cycle of paying respect to our soldiers.

We salute and thank all who have served our country, especially those who “gave the last full measure of devotion” as Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address. Please take time to thank a military family for their sacrifice, and we look forward to joining you in that effort at the parade.

On another note, this year marks the twelfth year we will be awarding Wayne Township’s Richard A Stevenson Sr. Scholarships (formerly the Recognizing Achievement Awards) and the seventh year for the Academic Encouragement Awards. Awards of $500 each will be given to graduating high school seniors who are moving on to higher education. And for students in grades eleven and under, we will award internet ready tablets along with certificates. If you are or know of such a student, the deadline for applying for these awards has been extended to June 7 this year; you can go to our Facebook page or website for more information.

Wayne Township Trustee - Austin Knox
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Wayne Township Trustee - Austin Knox

Trustee Austin Knox is a Fort Wayne native who, on January 10, 2020, was unanimously elected trustee at a caucus of Democratic precinct committee leaders of Wayne Township. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer